The life of a young widowed father with the will to help others with advice and positivity.

A life without a Mum

 

A life without a Mum

I don’t think I will ever really come to terms with my loss or be able to accept it but at the same time I do now feel at peace with it. Maybe it’s because I know there is nothing I can do about it and because after experiencing what I have I try to focus hard on being happy and enjoying my life. I have seen death, I know what it looks like and I know it will come to me one day so until then I want to live my best life with my kids.

However the huge struggle I have recently and something I can’t get out of my head is that the kids have lost their mummy forever and that Helen is missing them grow up.

The kids and I were recently looking at some pictures of Helen and kids which were taken not long before she passed away. Those special moments captured in time but what really stood out so strong was how much older the kids look now and how Helen stays the same. It really is forever isn’t it! There really are no more special moments to cherish for the kids and their mum.

Another clear reminder of this was when I showed the kids some of Helen’s clothes I have kept. Olivia has been wanting to see them for a while but I have been putting it off because I was worried how it would effect her but at the weekend we had some spare time so I got them out for us all to see. I’ve not seen them since I put them away safe about a year ago and I must say it was a shock for me to see them. The memories came flooding back and as I expected Olivia was really taken back by it as well and was then really unsettled for the rest of the day. Her pure need for a mother figure was even more on show because we had a kids party to attend that day and she was glued to a young pretty mum that was there. Plus in front of that woman Olivia asked me if she could be her new mum…… Being quite use to this now I simply told her that the lady was married and had a family of her own but it showed me yet again what Olivia is missing in her life that I cannot fill.

Marley is different. He will get sad if we all get sad and listens to what Olivia says which again makes him sad but very rarely will he initiate anything. He was much younger and as I have featured so much in his life I guess he only ever really remembers me. At the same time though I know he misses a mum too. That female touch to scoop him up and make him feel safe. Of course I can do that and I do it all the time but I can’t be that woman they both want.

That day was very tricky and that evening Olivia mentioned how unfair it is that everyone else has a mum and she doesn’t. Of course most of the children she knows have mummies but I explained that there are many children without mums and many without Dads. Some without both. I mentioned the widower friends I have that we have met a few times. The children in that family are without a mum just like her.

“Why me?” she said “Why did I have to be the one to be without a mum?”

My reply… “I know it’s not fair but we shouldn’t wish this on others and shouldn’t wish other people to die.”

We talked some more and I said how sad it was for me that I had lost my wife, best friend and soul mate. I expressed how said I am about that but then realised that actually I am generally so engrossed in the kids grief that I forget what I have lost. It’s pretty shit I can tell you!

But what stands out the most is not my loss but the fact that my beautiful children are without their mum and that Helen is missing this special time with her children. To be honest that fucking tears me up every time I think about it.

I know the kids will have a great life.. I will make sure of that but they will never have THEIR mum ever again. THEIR mum to take them to school, to pick them up, hug them when they are sad, laugh with them, the list is bloody endless.

Family

 

When my kid say something funny and make me laugh or when they learn something new or be cute I feel both so happy about that but then a pain where I wish Helen could have witness that too.

We’ll have bad days and good days and I do believe letting the kids do things like see Helen’s clothes is important for them. It reminds them of Helen and helps them along their journey.

I know there is no fix to this problem; only for me to continue doing what I am doing and keeping them happy but I hurts like hell knowing what they have lost and what Helen is missing. All Helen wanted was a happy family and to be a mum.

Tragic

 

Time is moving on

 

Time is moving on….

8 years ago today was the day I first met Helen. We met online and after a few emails and chats on the phone we agreed to meet at Queens square in Bath. I remember it clearly as I sat on the bench feeling nervous waiting for her. We went for a coffee and didn’t stop chatting all the way through. We even left without paying the bill because we were chatting so much so had to go back and pay.

Who would have thought that 8 years on I would have married her, had 2 kids with her and now lost her and a widower. This for me is another huge reminder that nothing lasts forever and enjoying what we have when we have it is a massive lesson to us all. I try hard to savour my time with the kids because I know this will never last. I also know how lucky I am to have what I do.

So if you are at home feeling grumpy or annoyed about something… Look around you; think about what you do have in your life that makes you happy. Focus on that and make sure you enjoy it.

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Mummy has died and she will never be coming back

 

Mummy has died and she will never be coming back.

These words seem to slip off the tongue so easily these days and the meaning of what I am actually saying doesn’t seem to register in my head.

The Kids and I obviously often talk about mummy and thankfully it’s mostly in a happy and positive way. There are times though when they are missing her or want her. During these times one of the kids will often ask me if mummy is coming back or when she is coming back. I know they know she won’t but it’s like they keep testing the water just in case I say something different.

I knew early on that I had to be honest with them about what had happened and I was sure with myself that I would never deviate from the facts.

Mummy is dead and she will never be coming back.

It’s the harsh truth and If I ever gave them any hope of anything different I knew it would knock them off their tracks and bringing them back on track would be difficult. So since that awful day I have had to constantly re-iterate the facts to my children. Initially it was daily and now it’s only now and then but like I said; I say those words as if I am a broken record and as if the meaning of what I am saying is not important.

Mummy is dead and she will never be coming back. A short and simple sentence but with an enormous meaning for my two kids.

When I realised just how nonchalant I was when saying these words I really had to think about why that was the case. I spent some time saying it out loud just to make myself hear it. I mean really properly hear it; understanding each word and the meaning behind the sentence. To be honest I quite prefer the broken record option rather than the realisation of it. Most of the time I won’t even realise the meaning of what I am saying and that’s fine with me. The kids will understand what I am saying and that’s the main thing. I know the reality of it all and I don’t need to be reminded of it so I will continue to say it as I do..

I think sometimes it’s OK to be like this. It sounds harsh but life is not always easy and certainly the events that have occurred in my life have been harsh. I also realise that I don’t need to immerse myself in it all the time. Saying these words like they mean nothing I think is OK as long as I don’t lose sight of their real meaning. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I will continue to stick to the facts so the kids continue moving forward in the right direction.

So I maintain the points I mentioned in a previous Blog Post

  • Mummy is never coming back
  • We cannot get her back
  • Mummy wanted us to live our lives and be happy
  • It’s very sad mummy has died but we all deserve to live our lives and be happy

These point have given my kids the clear facts but also something positive for them to think about. Of course it’s sad what has happened but it’s true that no matter what happens all Helen and I wanted for our kids is happiness and there is nothing stopping them having that. Anyone who know them will never know what they have been through because they are two of the happiest little kids I have ever met. It’s a rare occasion to not see a smile on their faces.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that you can be honest with children. Sometimes brutally honest and still enable them to have a happy childhood. It’s not easy at all but it’s what they deserve.

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The Anniversary

 

The anniversary was a hard one. There is no doubt about that at all.

As expected it started a few days before and all that kept creeping into my head were the difficult events that led up to those final breaths all the way to the time I had to tell the kids. If I’m honest reliving those memories were torturous but the thing that hurt the most was how it made me feel those old grief emotions again which I didn’t like at all. Almost like I was pushed back 10 months to the early raw feelings of loss and grief and that hurt like hell. That in itself made me realise how honestly glad I am that I am not in that place any more. That crushing loneliness, grief and pure unimaginable sadness… I wonder how on earth I got through it.

Helen passed away the early hours of the morning and I just didn’t feel like it was right for me to go to sleep until that time passed. So to pass the time I stupidly drank all night and sat at my computer reading through the old Facebook posts from before and after. The alcohol intensified my emotions and reading all those words took me deeper into my own world of sadness. While I was waiting for the exact moment to pass one year on I clearly remembered and visualised myself standing next to Helen in the hospital bed waiting for the inevitable to happen. I just let myself feel what I was feeling because I really had no choice. In some strange way it was comforting to have these thoughts pushed onto me because sometimes I feel I am so busy with my new life that I forget how I got to where I am now.

At nearly midnight my daughter woke up crying uncontrollably. This doesn’t happen very often at all; maybe 3 or 4 times since Helen passed but this time was especially different. Olivia was pleading with me that she wanted mummy and reaching out her hand to an empty space in the bedroom. It floored me and I held her as tight as I possibly could and sobbed with her. All I could think was that not only has an innocent woman lost her life but my innocent children are without their mum forever……

Forever….

Forever is a long time and I can’t do anything at all to change that. Excuse my language but that Fucking cruel isn’t it!!

After I settled her I had time to reflect on what had happened and I actually took some comfort in it which I know must sounds strange. It was just the way she was holding out her hand like she could see something I couldn’t. I don’t really know what to believe when it comes to the things that may or may not happen after death but I am sure if Helen could have been there that night she would have been. I asked my daughter the next morning if she remembered anything from that night and she couldn’t. To this day she has never mentioned it so maybe it was a dream, a nightmare or something I can’t explain.

Bereavement, Grief, Widow, Widower, Bereavement Counselling, Child bereavement, Carer, Terminal Illness, Death, Loss, Grieving

 

One thing to note though is when I read through Helen’s old Facebook posts it really did show a true reflection of how amazing and strong she was. How she dealt with all that was happening to her.. Just amazing.

The day after the anniversary I was miraculously back to my usual self. Me and the kids woke up happy and we got on with our lives.

Life is for living and being happy.. That’s all I focus on.. I will die one day so I may as well be happy until then.

One year on since my wife passed away

 

One year on since my wife passed away

The following few days will mark a year on since Helen left our home for the last time and went to hospital. As Helen was taken out of the house and into an ambulance that morning I distinctly remember thinking that this could be the last time she will leave this house. Sadly it was….  I clearly remember all the events from the morning of Wed 27th Feb 2013 through to the early hours of 1st March when Helen passed away. It was a very long and agonising time full of very difficult decisions and events.

The days and weeks that followed are a blur…..

It seems crazy that a year has passed. So much has happened and changed but at the same time it all feels like yesterday. What scares me the most though is how far away Helen feels now. It almost feels like a life time ago or a totally different life altogether and to say that about someone who is so special and close in my life really does scare me. I sometimes wonder if I am normal to be feeling like this but then I quickly remind myself that there is no ‘Normal’ when it comes to grief. It’s just the way I am.

My life is just so different now and am so busy with single parenthood, work, life that I have to say that’s some days it feels like I don’t think about Helen. I am sure I do in fleeting moments but not as I would have expected. This doesn’t mean I don’t miss Helen or still love her because I do. It’s not like our love stopped and we divorced; we were parted without our consent and our love was never in question. For me my love has stayed constant and I believe it always will be; I have just learnt how to move forward.

When I do make the time to think about it all I feel the same smack in the stomach that I had when it first happened. More of a realisation of the truth and the fact that life is definitely moving on. Accepting that I can never get my head around this situation is one of the key decisions I have made because it took away all the questions I may have had about why and how it all happened. It’s sad and tragic but it was also no one’s decision and in many respects it was out of our hands.

So the coming days will of course be a sad time. Not because a year has passed because for me there is no difference in it being 365 days since or 366 days… my feelings don’t really change. It will be sad more so because my mind will be forced to think about the tragic and sometimes horrific events of this time a year ago. The visions and memories I have will stay with me forever.

I am sure though that the anniversary of Helen’s death will probably mean much more to others rather than me. I have been living through the grief and loss each and every day where as other people move on with their lives and it’s these marked events that people tend to focus on. 

Another widower I know once described something called “The Waiting Room phase”. A space between two worlds, the world someone leaves behind after their loss and the world they have yet to arrive. I totally got this because for a long while I was in that space. A very lonely place where I was mourning my wife and the life I once had while at the same time in a state on being nowhere. I’m not in that place any more and that in itself is a good feeling. I don’t feel like the same man I was a year or 2 ago either; I feel like I have found myself again. I have a new life, new friends, new things I want to do, new places I want to see.

I have also come to the conclusion that my life will be great in so many ways because I have seen how easily life can be taken away. I have seen and experienced death first hand, I couldn’t have been more close to it without it actually being me. So I try not to worry about little things, I try to be happy with what I have and strive to continue to live a happy life.

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One of the biggest feelings of freedom I have felt since Helen’s passing is the fact that I was free of Cancer. It no longer ruled my life and that ‘Cancer Cloud’ above our heads drifted away at the very same time as Helen passed on. I have in some ways felt guilty about feeling so free because it was at the cost of losing my wife but Helen would not want the hardship we faced to continue unnecessarily. Like I have said so many times before; Helen fought so hard to stay alive and to live a happy life so I try hard continue with that ethos for her and make it happen.

I still maintain that I was lucky to have had the time with Helen and the kids were lucky to have Helen as their Mum. Such an amazing woman who never deserved the short life she had. Such a sad, terrible and tragic story of someone so young and innocent losing their life without any real reason for it or understanding.

I have no regrets at all from the time I had with Helen and through her illness. I am at ease with knowing that I did all I could for her and I feel happy about how me and the kids have coped on our own through the year. The kids just as happy as they always were and growing up to be 2 amazing people. Helen would be so proud of them.. Maybe she can look down and smile at the little people they have become. 

A year on…… I feel OK about it being a year since Helen passed away but I am sure it will hit me hard at some point.. Probably when I least expect it but at the same time I will raise my glass in thanks to Helen for letting me be part of her life and giving me two very precious children. For that I will be forever grateful.